EU Clears UK Gatwick Airport Sale to GIP

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Private equity fund Global Infrastructure Partners, controlled by Credit Suisse (CSGN.VX) and General Electric Co (GE.N), won permission from the European Commission on Thursday to buy London’s Gatwick Airport.

Spain’s Grupo Ferrovial (FER.MC), under pressure to reduce its dominance in UK airports, had agreed to sell Gatwick for a smaller-than-expected 1.51 billion pounds ($2.52 billion).

The Commission, executive arm of the 27-nation European Union, said in a statement that the deal would not hamper competition.

“Examination of the proposed transaction showed that the horizontal overlaps between the activities of London City Airport and Gatwick Airport were limited, therefore, the transaction would raise no competition concerns,” it said.

Gatwick is held by British airport management group BAA Airports Ltd, majority owned by Ferrovial.

BAA, which also controls Britain’s Heathrow and Stansted airports, was forced to divest its stake following an investigation by UK competition authorities. (Reporting by Bate Felix, editing by Dale Hudson)